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Blogs

Check out our blogs section where Chamber representatives, members and high-profile business figures write about a range of topics. If you are a member and want to submit a blog, please click here.

Kiri question is hypocritical at best and deeply damaging at worst

By Alison Delaney | Rise Up

Should white families be able to foster and adopt children from ethnic minority backgrounds? It’s a question that has been thrown into the limelight in recent weeks, thanks to Channel 4’s prime-time drama Kiri. The ‘whodunit’ thriller gripped the nation as it searched to uncover the killer; but as it unfolded, debates around social work, mental health, society, and race all entered the mix. While watching the programme and listening to the arguments forming around it weighing up whether black children should only be adopted by black families, I felt compelled to give my input: after all, this is MY story.  I was a black child successfully and happily adopted at three months old by a white...

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There was only one Cyrille Regis

By Chris Green | Chris Green Media

What a send-off it was for my hero, friend and the legend that truly was Cyrille Regis. His memorial service at The Hawthorns began with a beautiful rendition of Bring Him Home from Les Miserables by Chris Love. As his biographer, I was fortunate to gain a unique and personal insight into a man who was much more than mere footballer and someone of immense compassion and belief. Cyrille, like his parents Robert and Mathilda, had unshakeable faith. How else do you explain their brave decision to leave a wooden shack in the village of Maripasoula in French Guiana to seek a new life in England? Unspeakably difficult at times, with the family of seven split in five different directions at one...

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Tackling the issue of underinsurance

By Mari Horsfall | AT&A Insurance Brokers

The impact of underinsurance can be crippling for any business that suffers a loss, but it often hits SMEs particularly hard. I thought I would share what can be done to help SMEs tackle the problem. There are many myths and misconceptions that exist around the issue, and these need to be demystified in order to help SMEs bridge the knowledge gap and avoid the danger. What’s it worth? What can businesses do to ensure that their ‘sums insured’ is as close to the reality as possible so that everything’s covered? Here are some tips: Ignore the ‘market value’of a building. Base insurance cover on how much it would cost to rebuild the property and re-purchase stock and equipment. Don’t forget...

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Planning for the inheritance boom

By Reiss Matthews | Enoch Evans LLP

Following a number of recent articles in national newspapers further light has been shone upon the anticipated inheritance boom that is heading the way of today’s younger generation. The Resolution Foundation said that is expected that inheritances would more than double over the next two decades. It expects the peak year to be 2035, as the baby boomer generation – who have benefited most from the huge increase in house prices – progress through old age. As a consequence of the increase in inheritances, the leading think tank also commented that it is expected that the Treasury is also likely to benefit as Inheritance Tax receipts rise. The Office for Budget Responsibility has predicted that...

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Hotel Technology Trends travellers need to look out for in 2018

By Danielle Martinez | Good Travel Managament

Love it or loathe it…there is no getting away from technology these days, it has become so advanced that humans now depend on it in every area of their lives. Whilst some may worry about this fast advancement, for most, they see technology as a way to drive efficiencies and improve everyday activities. For the hospitality industry, future technology is mainly geared towards improving the guest experience in hotels, and its currently undergoing a huge transformation, with companies such as Airbnb changing society’s perception of what a hotel is. According to recode.net, Airbnb alone reached nearly 7% of the industry’s revenue last year, with the number of business trips booked also tripling. Combining...

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Personal savings - role of the Employer

By Nigel Bailey | Citysave credit union Ltd

We are not good in the UK in arranging savings to protect ourselves from the sort of occasional financial shock that hits all families.  Over half of us have less than £100 in readily accessible savings. Employers can help. Not by paying more but by providing access to savings, as an employee benefit, through simple monthly small deductions from pay sent to approved regulated savings providers. A zero cost benefit. There is a large amount of research around the link between financial wellbeing and the role of employer. “Today’s businesses need to consider the impact financial worries are having on employee health, happiness and productivity and look at what they can do to help reduce stress...

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The clock is ticking! - Windows Embedded end of life support

By Shaz Naeem | Portech

Due to Microsoft's announcement for end of support for Windows Embedded,  industries are having to look to an alternative OS for their enterprise Apps and the most suitable option today is Android.  As a result, businesses will need to have their apps rewritten for a new OS before the deadline. This can be critical since there are so many devices used in regulated environments.  Here are the scheduled dates for “End of Life”: April 10, 2018 – Windows Embedded CE 6.0 will be End of Life July 9, 2019 –  Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld will be End of Life January 14, 2020 – Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 will be End of Life “End of support” means that Microsoft will stop issuing security patches...

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Show time - a guide to home and garden exhibitions this February

By sam owen | Brookes & Co

With ‘Dry January’ turning progressively soggy and our resolutions for the year teetering on the edge of collapse, there can only be one thing stopping us from grabbing our duvet and hibernating until spring decides to show up. Indeed, February is one of our favourite months at Brookes & Co…From Spring Fair to the Garden Press Event, this month means shows and exhibitions galore. 2018 will see the Brookes & Co team unleashed on more exhibitions than ever before and February will be our busiest month yet. With so much going on in the industry, we’ve put together this handy guide to the key events this month… Spring Fair & Glee Exhibitions Taking place from 4 to 8 February at the NEC, Spring...

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Land Transaction Tax (LTT) – A new tax for Wales

By Jason Croke | Haines Watts Tamworth

April 2018 sees the introduction of LTT (Land Transaction Tax) which is the devolved Welsh governments equivalent of SDLT Whilst the majority of reliefs and rules will mirror that of SDLT, there is one element of difference, the rates and the bandings, which are different to the current SDLT (UK) rates which are still applicable until April 2018. The LTT rates (below) and a quick view reveals that lower valued properties gain a favourable saving under the LTT rates over current SDLT rates. But as properties get more expensive, they are taxed at a greater rate under LTT than currently under SDLT. So if you or your business are considering a purchase of property – residential or commercial –...

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6 ways to shrink your business travel spend on rail tickets

By Danielle Martinez | Good Travel Management

The Campaign for Better Transport estimated that rail fares went up by 23.5% between 1995 and 2016 – and 2018 isn’t expected to show any respite after the rail industry announced that they will go up by an average 3.5% from 2 January in line with the RPI announcement by the Chancellor. If your organisation travels on business, you will likely be affected by the latest price rises; however, there are still steps you can take to reduce your rail spend. Here are our top tips for reducing your average ticket prices. #1 - Consider fixing your journey times and ALWAYS fix the outbound It’s fairly common knowledge that the most expensive train tickets are those that give you the flexibility to catch...

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